WACO, Texas - Head coach Sytia Messer collected her first win at the reigns of the Tennessee Tech women's basketball program last Saturday evening as the Golden Eagles defeated Air Force at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi-hosted Islander Tip-Off Tournament. Tuesday night, Messer will again lead the Golden Eagles into a Texas battle - this time against the Baylor Lady Bears, the No. 4/8 team in the country.
Tech enters Tuesday's game with a 1-1 record after barely falling to Alabama (73-68) in the first round of the Islander Tip-Off Tournament before turning it around to win by 32 (81-49) against Air Force.
Many positives could be taken away from last weekend's tournament as Tech had six different Golden Eagles make the first start of their career. Tennessee Tech, the youngest team in NCAA Division I with just four years of combined collegiate playing experience on its roster entering the season, showed poise in coming back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game late against Alabama, and the night after, the Golden Eagles jumped out to a big lead early and never allowed the Falcons to get back in the game.
Several Golden Eagles had impressive performances last weekend, including sophomore guard Tacarra Hayes who was recognized on the all-tournament team and named OVC Player of the Week. In two games last weekend, Hayes scored a career-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds and two assists against Alabama, and followed that up with 16 points, six assists and six rebounds in the win over Air Force.
Twin sisters Kellie and Kylie Cook also stepped up for Tech as Kellie tallied a game-high 22 points against Alabama and Kylie led the team with 18 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals versus Air Force. Fellow freshman Tiara Hopper also made her presence felt in her Golden Eagle debut as she came off the bench to score 12 points and grab 10 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.
Tech will need equally impressive performances on Tuesday night as the Golden Eagles take on Baylor at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. The Lady Bears, who are coming off a loss to No. 8/9 Tennessee in Knoxville on Sunday evening, enter their home opener against Tech with a 0-1 record on the year after finishing last season with a 29-6 mark and appearance in the Sweet 16.
The game against Baylor is the first of three consecutive contests against opponents ranked in the top-25 for the Golden Eagles. Tech will travel to No. 23 Louisville on Sunday, November 22 before taking on No. 24 Middle Tennessee State next Saturday, November 28.
Tech will return home to play its home opener on Monday, November 30 against Lipscomb. For season ticks to all Golden Eagle home games, contact the Tennessee Tech Ticket Office at 372-3940 or visit TTUsports.com.
To follow along with all of the action tonight, visit baylorbears.com for live stats and Web streaming of the game or check out live audio through the Golden Eagle Sports Network. Audio can be accessed through TTUsports.com or by calling 1-800-846-4700 and entering Tennessee Tech's team code, 0654.